Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has
decided against seeking a third term in 2010, the AP reported.
Doyle's decision is expected to be announced on Monday. His
departure may signal the end of a pro-gay administration in Madison.
Gay and lesbian couples in Wisconsin
won a victory when Doyle included a domestic partnership law in his
biannual state budget and lawmakers approved it. Despite an ongoing
legal challenge mounted by social conservatives, the registry opened
this month. So far, about 440 couples have signed up for the
registry that grants about 43 rights, most of which center around
estate planning and hospital visitation issues.
Doyle's announcement comes as he faces
souring approval numbers after raising taxes and fees to help plug a
$6.6 billion budget deficit. Giving Republicans a strong shot at
regaining the state's top office.
The top two Republican candidates vying
to replace Doyle, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and former
Rep. Mark Neumann, oppose granting gay men and lesbians the right to
During his two terms in Congress,
Neumann voted in favor of Georgia Representative Bob Barr's Defense
of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that allows states to ignore
legal gay marriage and defines marriage as a heterosexual union for
the federal government.
In 2005, Walker strongly advocated for
placing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in
Wisconsin's Constitution: “Many years ago, I concluded that we must
change the Wisconsin State Constitution to say that marriage is to be
between one man and one woman. … My belief in this position is even
stronger today,” Walker said in a statement. The next year, voters
approved the measure.
Expected Democratic candidates –
including frontrunner Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton – are gay
friendly. Lawton opposed the state's ban on gay marriage.
Another candidate, Congressman Ron
Kind, scores high marks from the Human Rights Campaign, America's
largest gay rights advocate. Kind scored 85 points out of 100 in
HRC's latest scorecard on GLBT rights.
Politico reports that Doyle may
be eyeing an Obama administration appointment, a move that would put
Lawton in the governor's mansion before next year's election.